NEWS ROUNDUP: February 4

Leak on cross-border chases from Iraq
American military forces in Iraq were authorized to pursue former members of Saddam Hussein’s government and terrorists across Iraq’s borders into Iran and Syria, according to a classified 2005 document that has been made public by an independent Web site. The document, which was disclosed by the organization Wikileaks and which American officials said appeared authentic, outlined the rules of engagement for the American division that was based in Baghdad and central Iraq that year.

In Iraq, three wars engage U.S.
Three separate but related wars are being waged in this country now, and the third one, against Shiite extremists, is the most worrisome, according to the commander and senior staff of the U.S. Army division patrolling Baghdad.

Libyans advance in Al Qaeda network
The death of Abu Laith al Libi, a Libyan Al Qaeda chief, has cast a spotlight on the rise of Libyan militants in a network dominated by Egyptians and Saudis, Western anti-terrorism investigators say. Al Libi was killed last week in an American missile strike on a hide-out in Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan, officials say. In addition to overseeing a paramilitary campaign in Afghanistan, Al Libi had become a top figure in a propaganda barrage on the Internet, according to experts.

Al-Qaeda commander moved freely in Pakistan
A Libyan al-Qaeda commander who was killed last week in northwestern Pakistan had lived there for years and, despite a $200,000 U.S. bounty on his head, felt secure enough to meet officials and visit hospitals, according to officials and residents of this city.

Insurgencies spread in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Islamic insurgents are expanding their numbers and reach in Afghanistan and Pakistan, spreading violence and disarray over a vast cross-border zone where al Qaida has rebuilt the sanctuary it lost when the United States invaded Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. There is little in the short term that the Bush administration or its allies can do to halt the bloodshed, which is spreading toward Pakistan’s heartland and threatening to destabilize the U.S.-backed governments in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Turkish jets bomb northern Iraq
Turkish fighter jets bombed targets in northern Iraq on Monday, the Turkish military said, the fifth major strike against Kurdish rebels this year. In a statement posted on its Web site, the Turkish military said it had struck 70 targets in the Avashin and Harkuk districts in a 12-hour bombing run that began at 3 a.m. The military did not give details on damage or deaths.

Bomber shot dead during suicide attack in town housing nuclear reactor
Police in Israel shot and killed a Palestinian suicide bomber yesterday after he and an accomplice launched the first suicide bomb attack inside Israel for more than a year, killing a woman and injuring 11 other people in an explosion at a shopping centre in the town of Dimona. Both bombers wore explosive belts packed with ball bearings but only one detonated. After the first bomber detonated his explosives the second bomber, whose belt failed to go off, survived for several minutes, as witnesseses tried to help him. When they discovered he was wearing an explosive belt an Israeli police officer fired several shots into his body and then shot him in the head.

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